Pressure grows on house builders for higher standards

Housebuilders will be banned from “grandfathering” building regulations energy efficiency standards, once new zero-carbon requirements are introduced in 2025.

During the 2015 General Election campaign former Chancellor George Osbornehad surprised practically everybody by axing long-agreed plans to require all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016.

For decades,builders have been permitted to build to whatever regulatory standards were in existence when the local authority had given permission for construction. This means that larger building sites are still being built at the same unambitious energy levels that applied onceany initial work on any part of the development had been undertaken.

However, during the Second Reading debate of the Domestic Premises (Energy Performance) Bill in the House of Lords, former environment secretary, Lord Deben, referred to the Government’s public consultation on upgrading the Regulations.

He argued that: “From 2025, the new standards will come into operation on any house that is under construction, and not wait for people to have fulfilled their planning period. Otherwise, it will not be 2025 - as history tells us, it will be 2029 - before the higher standards become commonplace.”

Responding for the Government, junior energy minister, Lord Duncan of Springbank, told Lord Deben that: “I will give that commitment. This may not be in the consultation, but I think that would make perfect sense. We need dates to be meaningful, and 2025 is the meaningful date we are talking about here.”

The Bill in question is being promoted by Lord Foster, a former building regulations minister between 2013 and 2015. It seeks to ensure that domestic properties have a minimum energy performance certificate rating of C by 2035. It is enthusiastically backed by peers from all parties, including former energy minister Lord Whitty.

Originally introduced before the December election in the Commons by senior Conservative MP Sir David Amess, the Bill is likely to return for consideration by MPs later this spring.

• Since making that commitment, Lord Duncan has been replaced as energy minister by Lord Younger. However later in his speech, Duncan confirmed that this proposal was now firm government policy.

 

• Picture showsEnergy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng (right) at the Sustainable Energy Association annual reception in the House of Commons, with new SEA boss Jade Lewis, both backing Lord Foster's Domestic Premises (Energy Performance) Bill

During the 2015 General Election campaign former Chancellor George Osbornehad surprised practically everybody by axing long-agreed plans to require all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016.

For decades,builders have been permitted to build to whatever regulatory standards were in existence when the local authority had given permission for construction. This means that larger building sites are still being built at the same unambitious energy levels that applied onceany initial work on any part of the development had been undertaken.

However, during the Second Reading debate of the Domestic Premises (Energy Performance) Bill in the House of Lords, former environment secretary, Lord Deben, referred to the Government’s public consultation on upgrading the Regulations.

He argued that: “From 2025, the new standards will come into operation on any house that is under construction, and not wait for people to have fulfilled their planning period. Otherwise, it will not be 2025 - as history tells us, it will be 2029 - before the higher standards become commonplace.”

Responding for the Government, junior energy minister, Lord Duncan of Springbank, told Lord Deben that: “I will give that commitment. This may not be in the consultation, but I think that would make perfect sense. We need dates to be meaningful, and 2025 is the meaningful date we are talking about here.”

The Bill in question is being promoted by Lord Foster, a former building regulations minister between 2013 and 2015. It seeks to ensure that domestic properties have a minimum energy performance certificate rating of C by 2035. It is enthusiastically backed by peers from all parties, including former energy minister Lord Whitty.

Originally introduced before the December election in the Commons by senior Conservative MP Sir David Amess, the Bill is likely to return for consideration by MPs later this spring.

• Since making that commitment, Lord Duncan has been replaced as energy minister by Lord Younger. However later in his speech, Duncan confirmed that this proposal was now firm government policy.

• Picture showsEnergy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng (right) at the Sustainable Energy Association annual reception in the House of Commons, with new SEA boss Jade Lewis, both backing Lord Foster's Domestic Premises (Energy Performance) Bill

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